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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit

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Billy and Ruth Graham’s Love Story

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

001.jpgPrime Minister Lester Pearson’s wife Maryon once famously quipped “Behind every successful man is a surprised woman.”[1] The late Billy Graham, who died at age 99, was recently named for the 60th consecutive year in a Gallup poll as one of the ten most admired people in the world, along with Bernie Sanders, Pope Francis, and Bill Gates.[2]  It was Ruth Graham his devoted wife for sixty-three years who enabled Billy Graham to be healthy in the midst of relentless international attention.  Without Ruth’s loving care for their five children, it would have been impossible for Billy Graham to have taken part in 417 city-wide celebrations in 185 countries, speaking to live audiences of nearly 215 million people.[3]  Billy and Ruth Graham were a Valentine’s love story that we can all learn from.

Ruth, who lived her first seventeen years in China, never wanted to marry, intending instead to become a missionary in Tibet.  After going to school in North Korea, she moved to Wheaton College in Illinois.  There in 1940, she met her future husband Billy who instantly fell in love with her.  Ruth was slightly startled by his intense blue eyes.  As her biographer Patricia Cornwell put it, “Billy was unlike anyone Ruth had met….earnest, quietly confident, and personal. Clearly he spoke as one who knew God and knew him well…But what interested Ruth was that as Billy escorted her…,he seemed completely unaware of his uniqueness, his poignancy, his gift.”[4]  Billy was very nervous around Ruth, but eventually invited Ruth to hear Handel’s Messiah with him.  That night Ruth knelt on the carpet by her bed and prayed, ‘God, if You let me serve with that man, I’d consider it the greatest privilege in my life.’[5]  Ruth wrote to her medical missionary parents in China, saying: “Despite Bill’s fearlessness and sometimes sternness, he is just as thoughtful and gentle as you want a man to be…he makes you feel perfectly natural and looked after without being showy or obnoxious. Sounds like I’m in love, doesn’t it? Don’t get worried. I’m not.”[6] Both Billy and Ruth were independent and very determined people which led to some early challenges in their relationship.  It was normal in Ruth’s family for women to be strong and outspoken, something that Billy had to get used to.  In writing to her parents in 1941, she said: “(Billy) isn’t easy to love because of his sternness and unwavering stand on certain issues.  Many a night I have come in almost hating the man because I wanted my way in some little thing that was either unwise or foolish or something, and he wouldn’t give in even if it meant losing my love…”[7]  Sometimes Billy and Ruth could be the immovable object and the irresistible force.   Writing to her parents later in 1941, she said: “(Billy) has his faults and some people object to his fearless, uncompromising presentation of the gospel. But that was the first thing about him that commanded my attention and later my admiration –as I grew to know him better, my trust.”[8]

After accepting his marriage proposal, she visited her sister Rosa in a New Mexico TB Sanitarium.  While there suffering from exhaustion, she wrote Billy a crushing letter, telling him that she didn’t think that she was in love with him and that marriage was perhaps unwise.[9]  Her sister miraculously recovered, and Ruth went ahead with the wedding.  Cornwell commented: “What Ruth would do next, no one could predict, for she was as quietly stubborn as the sphinx and just about as inscrutable…She didn’t necessarily do the practical or the expected.”[10]

One of the greatest challenges to their marriage was how much Billy was away. Ruth often said: “I would rather have a little of Bill than a lot of any other man.”[11]  Many of Billy Graham’s sermon illustrations came directly from Ruth’s voracious reading of biographies, histories, novels, books about art and foreign countries.[12] It was Ruth’s deep faith in God that kept her going through many trying times.  One time after Billy unexpectedly went with his buddies to Chicago without Ruth, she tearfully prayed: “God, if you forgive me for marrying him, I’ll never do it again.” When he realized how much he hurt her, he was full of tender apologies.[13]  Ruth often said: “Sometimes beautiful women develop from adjusting to difficult men.”[14] By all accounts, Ruth was a beautiful woman in body, mind and spirit. Her medical missionary dad, her evangelist husband Billy and her beloved ‘prodigal’ son Franklin all helped her become more beautiful.

In 1963, Billy wrote to Ruth: “How can I find words to express my appreciation for all you have meant to me. Your love and patience with me in my ups and downs…have meant more to me than you will ever know. Your counsel, advice, encouragement, and prayer have been my mainstay….It seems in the recent months my capacity to love you has deepened…I love the wife of my youth more every day!…Yes, I am thankful to God for you…No child ever had a greater mother than our children.”[15]

Rev Dr. Ed Hird #BGFEST

Executive Member, Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope 

-an article published in the Light Magazine and the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you. 



-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

[1] Maryon Pearson spoke her mind”. Toronto Star, December 28, 1989.

[2] “Sweet 60: Billy Graham one of 10 ‘Most Admired Men’ again”, One News Now, January 8th 2017, https://www.onenewsnow.com/culture/2017/01/08/sweet-60-billy-graham-one-of-10-most-admired-men-again (Accessed January 16th 2017)

[3]Billy Graham -Biography, http://www.biography.com/people/billy-graham-9317669 (Accessed January 16th 2017)

[4] Patricia Daniels Cornwell, A Time for Remembering: The Ruth Bell Graham Story (Harper & Row, San Francisco), 60.

[5] Cornwell, 61.

[6] Cornwell, 63.

[7] Cornwell, 65.

[8] Cornwell, 67.

[9] Cornwell, 72.

[10] Cornwell, 155.

[11] Cornwell, 78.

[12] Cornwell, 78.

[13] Cornwell, 79.

[14] Cornwell, 194.

[15] Cornwell, 149.

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Check out David Ingram’s message about the Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope

We were blessed to have David Ingram preach at 9am and 10:30am services this Sunday, in which he shared on Facebook Live about the exciting Festival of Hope story and how we can all become involved.  He told us that half the people in Greater Vancouver were born outside of Canada.  Only Toronto is similar in this way.  Dubai and Brussels have over half from outside, but these people are temporary workers rather than those coming to permanently live.  In Greater Vancouver and Toronto, we have a unique opportunity to reach the nations without even changing our postal code.  Click on the following link to watch David powerfully share on Facebook Live.

David Ingram Director of Greater Vancouver Festival of Hopes shares good news
To the Nations #BGFest

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More Live Endorsements of the Festival of Hope

 FOH Stats2

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Live Endorsements of the Festival of Hope

It is hard to believe that the Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope is just a month and a half away.  The Billy Graham people, as I saw at the Greater Toronto Festival of Hope, are such a quality team, particularly in the music teams, the relationships between churches, and the media communication.  David Ingram, the Director of the Festival, along with Pastor Giulio Gabeli, the Festival Chair, have been giving remarkable, thoughtful leadership over the past two years.  It has been a joy to hear the following endorsements of the Festival of Hope from key Greater Vancouver pastors and leaders:

Pastor Giulio Gabeli, Pastor of Westwood Church and Chair of the March 3rd to 5th Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope, shares his excitement. http://festivalofhope.ca #BGFEST  Click on this link to watch the Facebook Live video, already viewed by over 1,000 people since Thursday.

Pastor David David Carson, Chair of the Vancouver Pastors Prayer Fellowship and Hope
Vancouver and key Festival Executive member, shares his excitement about the March 3rd to 5th Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope  Click on this link to watch the Facebook Live video. 

Pastor Sandro and Rebecca Di Sabatino of Glad Tidings Church, Festival Executive
members, share about the March 3rd to 5th Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope.  Click on this link to watch the Facebook Live video.

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Discovering the meaning of your baptism

Feel free to check out my 2nd Facebook Live sermon, looking at the meaning of your baptism from Isaiah 42.  By faith in Christ, you are God’s adopted beloved child in whom he is well pleased.

Meaning of Baptism photo.JPG

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

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My first Facebook Live Sermon ‘Rising Life in 2017’

Dear friends,

Through visiting my friend Pastor Marcel Kurtz at Valley Church, I learned how to do Facebook Live.  To test it out, Marcel and I recorded a Facebook Live conversation, viewed by 195 people.  Then I tested it a second time, seen by 365 people, with Pastor Owen Scott who co-ordinates the North Shore Pastors Prayer Fellowship with myself.  After that, I did a Facebook Live about the upcoming Festival of Hope, viewed by 216 people.  Then I did a Facebook Live at the gym on Restoring Health, viewed by 225 people.  The next Facebook Live interview, with 191 viewers, was with Bob Grahame whom I am coaching about his upcoming book The Future Never Arrives: at least not as expected.  Then Janice and myself did a Facebook Live Christmas Greetings, viewed by 730 people.  On Christmas Day, we did a Facebook Live for our son Mark’s sermon, with 238 people watching.  Our most widely viewed Facebook Live has been a Christmas Carolling with the Hird family, seen by 1511 people so far.

On January 1st New Year’s Sunday, I preached my first sermon being recorded on Facebook Live, viewed so far by over 1,800 people. You are invited to check out the New Year sermon from Hebrews 2:10-18 ‘Rising Life in 2017’


Ed Hird+

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.


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